One of the biggest shifts in late 2012, which will shape the landscape of products and, especially services and entertainment in the future, is the awareness by consumers that they really can get tailormade services delivered to their doorstep – and they are in control of it.
There are, of course, a host of pretentious names for this new consumerism, from ProSumers to Custowners, but the basic principle is the same: Don’t be forced to pay for things you ‘kind of’ like, because there is no choice, rather use the established idea of crowdsourcing and crowd-funding to pay for the tailored content and services that you want.
I am expecting to see the major TV networks miss a beat here, as the record industry did 10 years ago. If a show is cancelled because ‘ratings are low’ but 1 million people around the world like it, get together, pay $20 each per episode, and get it produced.
These are not new ideas, but they are ideas whose time has come in the mind of the consumer and in the availability of the tech to support it.
What I imagine this means is that the Hollywood budget blockbusters will remain, but with a more limited appeal. Mega-salaries for stars will drop as the indie, well-made pieces, will finally have a platform from which to self-fund and to cater for the kinds of markets, internationally, which have made local productions fail up until now.
Take this kind of thinking and adapt it to any product or service and it’s a game-changer. Want insurance without all the red-tape – crowd-design and source a funding pool to pay out instead. Adapt this to anything and everything and what you get is a reverse-Groupon, the crowd determining the products and services that they want to use and interact with, or developing totally new paradigms of conversation, products and services.
How business and brands react to this is going to be interesting, I predict, as usual, a slow uptake, some serious issues in the entertainment industry and an exciting time for product development – a 7-billion-strong think-tank should see some powerful ideas take form. The next 12 months is going to force us all to rethink Branding, once again. This is, a very good thing.